BALI – PAON COOKING CLASS PT 1

Bali – Paon Cooking Class Pt 1

One of the coolest days I had in Bali was spent with Paon Cooking Class. In fact, The Hubby and I enjoyed our market tour and hands-on experience so much, we’ve started researching similar classes for our next vacation (One month until Italy!). Based on Ubud, the concierge at the St. Regis helped us book a morning class the day before. Two start times were available, 8:30am, which included a tour of the Ubud old market and 4:00pm, which was cooking only. The cost was 350,000 IDR per person, about $35 Canadian with today’s exchange rates. While we had our driver drop us off at the meeting location in Ubud, Paon Cooking Class does offer pick up services. The class itself took place in a Balinese village a short drive away and a shuttle service was provided to bring us back to any address in Ubud.

We chose to go with the morning class, which meant leaving Nusa Dua at 7am. As much as I hate early mornings, walking through the market was worth the extra caffeine I needed. When we arrived at Ubud, we met up with our guide, Wayan, who was lovely. Wayan and his wife run Paon Cooking Classes and he was our tour guide for the morning. His English was accented, easy to understand and full of humour. Our group was made up of tourists from Australia, Europe and Singapore with the majority being couples, many on honeymoons, a group of friends and one solo girl who was in Bali for work.

Wandering through the market, Wayan would stop at certain stalls and explain the products being sold and answer questions. The market itself was located in a stone building with a few levels. Produce was on the lower levels while meat was in the basement. Wayan included details about how the market was deeply rooted in everyday Indonesian life and how vendors pass down their spots through generations. We sampled fresh fruits, like mangosteen and passion fruit and learned about how essential pandan was in Indonesian cooking. Throughout the tour, Wayan pointed out ingredients that we would be cooking with later that day.

In addition to fresh fruit and produce, the market also sold bales of flower petals (used in crafting daily offerings). After 9am, the produce vendors pack up and the market becomes an art market filled with souvenirs and handcrafts. As is, by the time we had arrived, all of the meat vendors were cleaning up. A blessing as the market wasn’t overly hygienic and strong odurs still lingered. Wayan actually gave each guest a flower blossom to smell if they found the meat section of the market too overpowering.

After our market tour, we piled into shuttles and headed to his house for the next part of our day, cooking.

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